What is the purpose/objective of the fund?
Compass Digital Ventures (CDV) was created to identify and invest in early-stage companies that have market-ready technologies relevant to the food-service and food retail sectors. We are a subsidiary of Compass Group, the world’s largest food-service company. Our goal is to work with startups that are shaping the future of food retail and hospitality.
Do you specialize in certain technologies?
CDV is currently interested in six broad areas of foodservice and retail that are primarily driven by the changing labour landscape, changing customer expectations and need for sustainability
- Omni-channel Commerce—Creating seamless and intuitive retail experiences no matter how customers choose to shop
- On-demand Economy—Improving convenience in food retail and delivery
- Kitchen 2.0—Innovations in food systems and kitchen tech
- Connected Cafeteria—Creating a tech-enabled cafeteria
- Sustainability Tech—Reducing environmental impacts and waste
- Restaurant Management—Administrative Solutions
Explain the “pilot program” approach
CDV is uniquely positioned to evaluate potential investments in real-world settings. After an initial internal proof-of-concept phase, new products are put into use either in Compass Group facilities or at one or more customer facilities. Pilot programs typically last 6–16 weeks. Even startups that don’t become portfolio companies gain valuable experience over the course of a pilot.
Do you have a geographic focus?
We are open to working with founders based almost anywhere in the world, but startups must be willing to pilot their products in North America.
What stage companies do you invest in?
CDV makes seed or Series A investments in companies that have a working product that is ready for a real-world pilot test in the Compass Group ecosystem. We also consider later-stage follow-on investments in companies already in our portfolio.
Will you lead rounds?
How should founders reach out to you?
When should founders reach out to you?
When they have a working product ready to enter a pilot program.
Do you do follow-on rounds?
Do you take board seats?
Not as a rule. But we will take board observer seats when that is helpful to a startup.
Aside from the pilot program, what makes CDV stand out?
Our team of subject matter experts in Product Development, UX Design, Data Technology, Digital Transformation, and Marketing provide support and guidance to CDV portfolio companies. As a division of CDL, we have access to its experts in areas like AI, ML, and data science. And of course Compass Group is one of the world’s largest buyers of food-service technology. We are formidable partners in product development and will often be the biggest customer for startups with technology that promises to shape the future of food service.